Dear Sisters and Brothers,
This is being sent to members of Blackhawk Presbytery of all theological/ideological persuasions along with elders and staff of Belvidere's First Presbyterian Church and selected friends/foes; urging you to forward it at your discretion because my address book does not include all members of the presbytery or anyone else interested in this matter.
Our presbytery will vote on "the amendment" on February 10, 2015 at Rochelle, Illinois' First Presbyterian Church.
While I will be voting against the amendment because I am convinced it is categorically antithetical to 2K+ years of Biblical, confessional, constitutional, historical, traditional, and common sense Christianity, I have pledged to officers and moderators of Blackhawk Presbytery that I will not speak to the substance of the AI or amendment because I've written enough about both since advocated by the 221st General Assembly in Detroit (June 2014); however, I will rise to rebuke acrimony from left or right during deliberations.
Though hoping otherwise, I expect our presbytery to affirm the amendment despite it being categorically antithetical to Jesus by the book; and will exercise my constitutional right immediately after the vote: "I ask the stated clerk to indulge my constitutional right to be recorded in the minutes by name and church as dissenting from the authoritative interpretation of the 221st General Assembly and our presbytery's vote to amend the constitution from marriage being 'between one man and one woman' to 'between two people' as categorically contradictory to over two thousand years of Biblical, confessional, constitutional, historical, traditional, and common sense Christianity."
Expecting the PCUSA to adopt the amendment by majority vote in the early months of 2015 and then begin a Kenyonesque crusade against dissent, I pray Blackhawk Presbytery will defy that impulse and remain true to its proclamation overwhelmingly adopted at its stated meeting on November 11, 2014: "Acknowledging same-sex nuptials are legal in Illinois and the PCUSA affords discretion to its teaching elders by the authoritative interpretation of the 221st General Assembly to preside or not preside at such rituals+ceremonies=rites and particular churches may host or not host such ordinances upon session approval subject to the review of higher judicatories, Blackhawk Presbytery will honor the consciences of teaching elders and particular churches within its bounds; noting its members are divided among those who embrace the authoritative interpretation as witness to progressive theology and those who reject it according to traditional Christianity. Presiding/participating teaching elders and hosting churches may exercise their consciences as permitted by the authoritative interpretation. No efforts to force teaching elders and sessions who decline to preside/participate/host will be encouraged, enabled, or condoned. Those who embrace and those who decline do not need to fear ministerial infringements or vocational reprisals in Blackhawk Presbytery."
Parenthetically, how we deport ourselves during deliberations on February 10 will have an extended impact upon the future shape and membership of Blackhawk Presbytery.
For example, our family of faith will be sending four elders to the meeting with two designated as commissioners. I have already reviewed the anticipated comments of one of our elders; and while affirming content, I am also reminded of the gravity of this kairos moment for our presbytery as well as franchise.
Personally, I approach this moment as one just scratching the surface of my relationship with Jesus by the book. I may be wrong about what I have said and written. If you think I am wrong, I invite you to show me how I am wrong by the example of Jesus, revelations of Holy Scripture, and common sense. If I am wrong, I will confess my sin, pray and labor to repent, and ask forgiveness from our Lord, you, and anyone that I have hurt, misled, or otherwise offended by my sin. But if you are saying I am wrong by a worldly standard, tradition, prejudice, political correctness, or any idolatry antithetical to Jesus, the Bible, and common sense, please do not waste my time with your infidelities.
I will remain faithfully.
That is part of my irresistible call.
By God's grace overcoming my carnal instincts, I agape everyone, pray His best for all, and will labor for indiscriminate kindness.
Blessings and Love!